FOOTBALL is a multi-billion pound global business but its riches are not evenly spread among clubs.
While the English Premier League reaps the rewards of its record-breaking television deal, teams north of the border have had cut to their cloth to suit their means in the last 10 years.
Several Scottish clubs have had spells in administration with some reportedly coming within hours of going out business altogether.
It is not all doom and gloom, however. The 2015 edition of the respected BDO’s Annual Survey of Football Finance Directors Report suggests that clubs have got their finances in order and have embraced a new era of prudence.
All Scottish Premiership clubs surveyed said they were not raising funds by selling off future earnings, such as advances on season tickets or media income or player transfer fees.
Charles Barnett, professional sports group partner at BDO, commented: “It is clear that the financial lessons of the last decade which saw several Scottish football clubs go into administration have been learnt.
“There is a much greater understanding and will to ensure financially security in the years to come. Clubs know they cannot borrow now to fund future success and have responded accordingly.
“They are also much more aware of the need to develop new sources of income where possible.”
The Scotsman has compiled the net worth of the Scotland’s leading clubs from information calculated by companycheck.co.uk, the UK’s most used online business data provider.
ABERDEEN - £7.3 million
The Dons have enjoyed a renaissance on the pitch under manager Derek McInnes. A series of sold-out games at Pittodrie will have pleased the club’s board of directors as well.
CELTIC - £46.6 million
The reigning Premiership champions may have missed out on qualification for the Champions League group stages for the second year in succession, but prudent financial stewardship ensures the Hoops remain Scotland’s most valuable club by some distance.
DUNDEE - minus £115,000
Companycheck rates Dundee as having a net worth of minus £115,000 once the club’s liabilities are deducted from its assets. The Dens Park club have endured several spells of administration since the turn of the century but are now enjoying a period of relative stability under the management of Paul Hartley.
DUNDEE UNITED - £1.1 million
The Terrors are currently without a manager after Jackie McNamara’s departure last weekend. The sale of several first team stars has tried fans’ patience but has significantly reduced the club’s debt.
HAMILTON ACADEMICAL - minus £102,700
A net worth of minus £102,700 does not reflect Accies’ reputation as one of the shrewdest clubs in Scotland. Despite having one of the smallest average supports the club has profited from the sale of several players in recent years.
HEARTS - £1.1 million
Under the ownership of Vladimir Romanov, Hearts were known for paying extravagant wages to players. Those days came to abrupt end when the club entered administration in 2013 with debts of £25 million. The Jambos are now enjoying a fresh start under chairwoman Ann Budge and swept to the Championship title last year.
HIBERNIAN - £14.9 million
While avoiding the financial scrapes of their city rivals Hearts, Hibs still found themselves relegated from the top flight in 2014. Despite significant investment in the club’s infrastructure, the Hibees have endured a lean few years on the park and face a battle with Rangers to secure promotion at the second time of asking.
INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE - £291,800
This has been a year to remember for fans of the Caley Jags. John Hughes led the club to its first major trophy success in May when it won the Scottish Cup courtesy of a 2-1 win against Falkirk.
KILMARNOCK - £10.9 million
Killie fans have made their displeasure with the Rugby Park board known in recent years and a poor start to the season has not helped the mood in Ayrshire.
MOTHERWELL - £737,400
The Steelmen are also looking for a manager after the departure of Ian Baraclough following a cup defeat at Morton. The Lanarkshire side have bounced back considerably from their 2002 administration and remain on a solid footing
PARTICK THISTLE - £4.5 million
The Maryhill Magyars have seen their average home attendances drop in recent seasons despite a return to regular top flight football.
RANGERS - £31.5 million
The Glasgow giants endured years of financial uncertainty which culminated in the liquidation of the club’s former corporate identity in 2012. Although not in the Premiership the Gers are now under new ownership and look favourites to win the Championship this season and reclaim their place in the top flight.
ROSS COUNTY - £3.5 million
The rise of Ross County from Highland League origins has been one of Scottish football’s success stories and the Staggies are now firmly established as a top flight team.
ST JOHNSTONE - £1.8 million
The Saints are in robust health on and off the pitch. The Perth team tasted Scottish Cup glory for the first time in 2014 and under manager Tommy Wright are now a good bet to secure another top six finish.